Smith-Miller Coca-Cola Truck, ca. 1955

Value (2014) | $1,500 Auction$2,000 Auction
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GUEST:
It was a Christmas present when I was a child. My grandmother was downtown shopping for a present. She was a dirt-poor lady, and some gentleman-- they say he was a banker in town-- bought this truck for her. He did this as random acts of kindness, and she gave it to me. I could not tell you if I was two, three years old, how exactly old I was at the time.

APPRAISER:
Now, where was this?

GUEST:
Great Bend, Kansas.

APPRAISER:
It has a Great Bend, Kansas, mailing address on there. What's great about this is the condition. Did you play with it?

GUEST:
Very seldom. I could only play with it in the front room, on the rug, no more than one hour at a time. Never to be taken outside. Then, naturally, after a while, it lost its fun. (laughing) So I didn't play with it anymore, and it's sat in this box for a long time.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, if you couldn't really go at it, it wasn't that much fun to play with.

GUEST:
Exactly.

APPRAISER:
Well, at the time, I'm sure that wasn't a good thing. But now, that turned out to be a very good thing because of the condition. Let's talk about the piece. It's Smith-Miller, and it's written clearly on the box, "Smith-Miller Toys," and it's marked on the truck, "Smith-Miller." Smith-Miller started in the '40s, and they were one of the first companies to make toys in aluminum. The cab of this truck is cast aluminum. Now, they started making Coke trucks in the '40s, and they used a couple of different cab styles. And this is the last of their Coke trucks. This is the GMC front end. And it's a cab-over-engine cab, and this was a tie-in with Coca-Cola. So we really have a mint-in-box toy here, but we also have a Coca-Cola collectible.

GUEST:
I see.

APPRAISER:
So there's a lot of interest from the toy market and also from Coke collectors. Smith-Miller closed down in the '50s. And when they closed down, the factory line was shut down, and basically everything remained there until the 1970s, and a gentleman bought all the existing remnants of the factory, and he put together many examples. And so there are some mint-condition Coke trucks on the market. Now, they're legitimate Coke trucks.

GUEST:
They're not reproductions.

APPRAISER:
But what is interesting about yours is you have the history. You got yours in the 1950s. I feel bad for you that you never got to play with it.

GUEST:
Well, it was fun when I did, and I think she was terribly afraid of me losing just any one bottle.

APPRAISER:
The price then was over ten dollars. I mean, it was an expensive toy. On today's market, because of the condition, it's going to bring a premium, and an auction estimate would be $2,000 to $3,000.

GUEST:
Oh, man. Yes! Thank... I'm glad that she wouldn't let me play with it. What can I say? Well, I've been playing with it lately. On the carpet, in the front room. (laughing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Village Doll Shop
Adamstown, Pennsylvania
Morphy Auctions
Value Update (2014)
$1,500 Auction$2,000 Auction
Appraised value (2008)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Material
Aluminum, Glass, Metal

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